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Kundalini Yoga FAQs
What is Kundalini yoga?
Kundalini Yoga is a cleansing and uplifting blend of dynamic breathing techniques, movement, meditation, and chanting. The most common mantra used is Sat Nam, meaning truth is my identity. The term Kundalini refers to the vital life force that until activated lies dormant at the base of the spine. Kundalini is represented as a snake coiled upon itself three and half times and wrapped around the root chakra.
It is also known as the “sleeping goddess” or “serpent power.” The three coils can be interpreted as the past, present, and future and the half coil symbolizes timelessness or transcendence. By meditating, energizing, and awakening the seven chakras (vortexes of energy) kundalini energy can then rise freely up the spine. As kundalini rises it cleanses and strengthens the energy body and the chakra system.
How is Kundalini different from other types of yoga?
There are no sun salutations or vinyasa flow. The classes consist of repetitive motions and movements intended to increase circulation and lubricate the joints. These movements generate heat within the body and are often synchronized with a specific breathing technique. Chanting is also used throughout the class to help focus and empty the mind.
Is chanting required to practice? Why do you chant?
It’s important to remember we always have a choice. You can always choose to opt out of anything you don’t feel comfortable with. It may feel uncomfortable at first because it is something new but just do your best to keep an open mind. We suggest giving it a try before you completely omit the experience and if you don’t feel amazing afterwards feel free not to participate in chanting in the future.
Chanting mantras have profound healing affects on both the body and mind as they alter the chemistry of the brain. As you chant the mantra, your tongue is stimulating meridian points located on the roof of your mouth and sending signals to the pineal and pituitary glands, and the hypothalamus which regulate our emotional well being and mood. Mantras are usually chanted in Sanskrit. Sanskrit is known as the cosmic language, the language of unity. It’s purpose is to elevate our consciousness and dissolve feelings of separateness.
“Sanskrit, the language of the human spirit, seems to be the perfect instrument for bringing about healing on many levels. Physically, its resonating power promotes healing. Mentally, it awakens the natural brightness, agility, and order of the mind. Spiritually, it facilitates an expansion of awareness, tranquility, and bliss.”
– Vyaas (Tuck) Houston, director: American Sanskrit Institute
Will Kundalini yoga help me develop my meditation practice?
Yes kundalini can provide a number of tools to assist your meditation practice. The breathing techniques used in classes will help cleanse, clear and empty your mind. The study and activation of the chakras will help balance and direct energy or can become a meditation in and of themselves. The mantras learned in class are also incredibly powerful tools for meditation.
What is pranayama?
“Prana” refers to the universal life force and “ayama” means to lengthen or regulate. Pranayama is the control of prana through the breath. These breathing exercises remove toxins and stagnant energy from the body and mind. They have the ability to reduce stress, increase energy, improve mental clarity, and enhance our physical health.
Pranayama moves our vital life force throughout the body through tiny tubelike channels known as the nadi’s. When these nadi’s or energetic pathways are obstructed it has a direct affect on our state of mind. When “prana” our vital life force can flow freely the mind is calm, positive, and clear.
When the flow of prana is weak or broken we experience tension, conflict, and other negative emotions such as fear and worry. Pranayama brings harmony and balance between our body, mind, and spirit, leaving us physically, mentally, and emotionally stronger.
Is yoga religious?
No yoga is not a religion. Yoga is the science of the Self, a healing art, and a spiritual practice. Yoga unites the body, mind, and spirit through movement, breath work, meditation, and relaxation.
This ancient practice increases our awareness and unearths our interconnectedness with nature, our higher self, and the oneness in all beings. The meaning and experience of “spirit” is unique to each individual as Yoga strengthens our relationship to our own personal version of God or higher state of consciousness.